Monday, October 4, 2010

I Could Be a Murderer

Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong have written a policy paper opposing Colorado's Amendment 62, a ballot initiative seeking to legally define "personhood" as beginning at the moment of conception.  You can find the paper, entitled The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception, at the web site of the Coalition for Secular Government.

If Amendment 62 were the law of the land, I would be a murderer for aborting a severely deformed fetus.  Despite the fact that I have put myself through the hell of six pregnancies with only one child as a result in the attempt to bring new life into the world, I would also be barred from pursuing that value by Amendment 62, which would effectively criminalize in vitro fertilization.  (Congratulations and thanks to Robert Edwards, who just won the Nobel Prize in medicine for developing IVF.)

I never felt very strongly about the abortion issue until it became real to me because of my own personal experience.   Now I understand why this is one of the biggest political issues of our day.  At a theoretical level, it cuts to the heart of what individual rights are.  If you don't ground rights in man's nature as a rational being, you can only default to the intrinsicism of religion or the abandonment of rights as a principle.  And precisely because of this importance in theory, we have a massive conflict in practice.

I am a living person with rights, seeking my own happiness.  Those in favor of Amendment 62 would condemn me for that very fact, in the name of the potential that I am trying to actualize.  It's bizarre.  Those people can keep their goddamn imaginary world of heaven, hell, and mystical souls of the unborn, but they'd better leave this world to me.

Please read this paper and consider forwarding it, linking to it, or publicizing it in any way that you can.


  1. [...] Mossoff presents I Could Be a Murderer posted at The Little Things, saying, “If you’re reading the Objectivist Round Up, [...]

  2. Amy, it is interesting how often the issues of infertility and abortion go hand in hand. Although I never had an abortion--the severely deformed fetus I had aborted spontaneously at 14 weeks--I sure wanted the option to be available given numerous difficult pregnancies, only two of which resulted in live births--both kids (relatively:)) normal. Further, in reading Diana's paper, I realized that some of the interventions taken to save my second viable pregnancy were risky to the baby, and the interventions at the end taken to save my life meant he was born early. Could those risks be chosen should the personhood amendments be passed? Or would I, too, be a criminal for the early induction of labor?